I was in school when I got the first opportunity to use a computer. In the early 90s, computers were not very common in the households in Pakistan. All the interactions I had with the computer was at the school learning the BASIC programming language, and at that time it never fascinated me. I graduated from the school in 1998 and started studying maths and economics. I recall, my best friend had moved to the US, and the usage of the email was getting familiar. Almost all my friends had a desktop computer. I started to develop an interest in computers and quick sending and receiving of emails amazed me. I finally bought my desktop. It was very exciting, and I started to use it for emailing my best friend. I also learned to type efficiently in MS Word. And for all my writing activities I became more dependent on the computer, and the usage of pen/paper notebooks decreased in my life. The exchange of notes and information with my friends too became so accessible with just one click to email.
With the passage of time, this interest transformed into an ambition to become a computer engineer. In 2001, I enrolled for BS in computer sciences. Now I was using my desktop for different tasks. I learned and got accustomed with new programming languages, software, and tools. I bought a digital camera a few years later, the entire concepts of instant pictures and sharing them right away was unbelievable. I don’t even remember the last time I got my photos printed. But I do remember how irritating was the process of scanning pictures to share them online.
It was thrilling how my usage of the computer had changed from leisure to studies. After graduating, I bought my first laptop and enjoyed the portability. Over the years, my comfort with using computers enhanced. I started from where I didn’t even know how to operate my desktop computer and today have reached a point where I know and understand that what’s inside and how it works.
I moved to London in 2009 and bought my first smartphone, an iPhone. My dependency on laptop lessened over the years for essential activities like checking emails, browsing, messaging, video calling, taking & sharing photos, reading, mobile banking, etc. The only time I used my laptop is to do academic work. Today I don’t have to make hand-written notes as applications like Evernote are there. I don’t need to put tags on my fridge for reminders as my calendar app on iPhone does the needful. Using my smartphone, I can order food for delivery or a taxi, or I can also take pictures and share them instantly. I can even book flights or hotels sitting at home using the computer. In short, the ease and convenience that computers have introduced into my life have become a way of living. Today, I see smartphones and computers are an essential part of everyone’s life in my community and has changed the way we work, play and live.
I have now enrolled for the MSc, and I am using my laptop a lot more once again especially because it is an “online” program. Computers have totally changed my life as I am studying from home at my pace and comfort level. It has become a definite part of my life.
I would conclude my post on one of my favourite quote by Adam Osborne, “The future lies in designing and selling computers that people don’t realize are computers at all.”